For many, sports bars can be a great place to go with friends, co-workers and loved ones. However, not all bars are created equal! There are key factors that really make one stand out from the other; that makes one bar successful and the other… not so much.
Many avid beer drinkers would emphatically say that the obvious answer to a great sports bar would be the beer! That may be only part of the answer, but these beer enthusiasts are absolutely right! Successful sports bars are known to have a myriad of beers to choose from to keep their customers happy and their thirst quenched. Let’s face it, we Americans love to have options! And these days, more and more craft beers are on the market for people to choose from too! A sports bar that provides what their patrons like, is a bar that aims to stay in business. As with any business, it’s important to know what your customers want and fill that need – Supply and Demand!
FLAT SCREEN TV’s
This is an absolute must! Ever been to a sports bar that doesn’t have a TV? Of course not! Every sports bar should have multiple TV’s throughout the establishment. The larger the bar, the more flat screens they should have. Larger bars should have flat screens on every wall; customers should be able to actually see a flat screen no matter where they are in the bar (except the restroom of course!). People come here to watch their favorite sports teams; whether it be baseball, football, NASCAR, hockey or any other sport… customers want to watch the game! There’s also no doubt that customers want to be around friends and other people rooting for their home-team; it’s the camaraderie!
Most successful bars have at least a couple of games for customers to enjoy while visiting. You’ll find many bars that have at least a couple of pool tables and/or dart boards. If it’s a larger sports bar, they may also have shuffleboard tables and video games like Poker and Blackjack games. Some sports bars even offer Poker Night and Pool Leagues, Dart Leagues and Shuffleboard Leagues. Trivia games have also become more popular over the years and are generally only held once per week or every other week.
This is somewhat of a no-brainer, but most bars have Happy Hour! Even though happy hour is phrased in the singular, many bars host happy hour for 2-3 hours or more! They not only offer a discount on favorite beers and beers on tap, they also provide many drink specials to their patrons. A successful bar may change these drink specials up every now and then; they keep a close eye on what people are buying. They find it equally important to pay close attention to what local competition may be doing.
It’s not just the trendy nightclubs that are scrutinized by patrons, but even local sports bars are judged by their ambiance. Great bars have a certain vibe when people walk in for the first time, and that first impression can make all the difference in the world. It’s the sports photos on the walls, the lighting, the layout of the tables, the pool tables, the flat screens all over with multiple games on; it’s everything that encompasses what people expect in an awesome sports bar.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Any Realtor who’s worth their weight will tell you that Location Is Everything! This certainly holds true when it comes to where these bars are located in relation to getting customers. Larger establishments need to be in an area that’s going to pull higher traffic. Smaller sports bars in a small town; they can still prove to be successful just by gaining customers from their immediate local market.
Every new business hopes that it will succeed based on a line from the movie “Field Of Dreams”… “If you build it, they will come.” However, the reality quickly sets in when it comes to running a sports bar. As with any business, successful bar owners know that marketing equates to new business. These business owners utilize variable marketing strategies to engage new customers and retain current customers. Most bar owners don’t have the time or the know-how to do this on their own, so quite often they retain the services of a professional marketing company. They know it’s vitally important to cater to repeat customer (the regulars), but they know that marketing is the integral factor that will continue to bring new business.